Does the Arrangement of Embedded Text Versus Linked Text in Homework Systems Make a Difference in Students Impressions, Attitudes, and Perceived Learning? Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York. Students in a first-semester general chemistry course at a large southwestern university completed a 3-week homework assignment using MindTap, a Cengage Learning product. MindTap is the first major electronic system that has homework questions embedded in the text, such that students read a short section of the textbook and then answer a question set. Prior to MindTap, electronic homework systems were stand-alone or contained questions with links to the textbook. Next, students completed two 2-week homework assignments in Online Web Learning (OWL) version 1 also from Cengage Learning. The OWL system shows homework questions with a link to the textbook in a separate window. Both the MindTap and OWL systems contain the same or similar questions. After the students used both homework systems, a survey was given that included Likert-scaled and open-response questions that dealt with students’ perceived level of understanding using the different systems, how easy the systems were to use, and the advantages/disadvantages of each system. A delayed survey was given at the end of the second semester of general chemistry, during which students had used OWL for the complete semester. This paper investigates the effects of the arrangement (embedded vs. linked) on student preferences and perceived learning in this pilot study with a 300-person class. Based on the results of the study, it was found that students perceived that they learn more with MindTap and prefer the embedded text in MindTap over the linked text in OWL.

altmetric score

  • 1.75

author list (cited authors)

  • Zumalt, C. J., & Williamson, V. M.

citation count

  • 5

publication date

  • May 2016